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‘Les cosaques littéraires en action’, censors remove books from the king’s library, 18th-century engraving.

From the Thirty Years War to the ancient civilisation of Iran, from Anglo-American rivalries in the desert to the persecution of indigenous peoples, historians select their favourite books of the past year.

Helen McCarthy.

‘People can surprise you. They often don’t fit into the categories we impose on them.’

A papyrus leaf from the Book of the Dead of Imenemsauf.

The ancient Egyptian gods of creation and knowledge vanquish the ‘Lord of Chaos’.

Emily Jones.

‘Ideas don’t do things; people do.’

Saint George and the Dragon, by Paolo Uccello, c.1470.

A medieval myth with deep roots that captured the imagination of western Europe’s age of chivalry.

The Fall of Phaeton by Peter Paul Rubens, 1605, now in the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

A horrifying tale of reckless daring and ecological catastrophe.

John Bew.

‘What is the most common misconception about my field? That it is ‘great man’ history.’

Seated Bodhisattva, Avalokiteśvara, or Guanyin, China, 11th century.

The compassionate Buddhist deity who walks among us.

Lucy Inglis

‘People don't learn from others’ mistakes. We have a need to make our own.’

Emily Jones receives her prize from editor Paul Lay.

All the winners from this year's awards ceremony.